Link up the fightbacks – join the Socialists

Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

Unison pay strike, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Beth Webster, Cardiff West Socialist Party

After congratulating themselves on nominally bringing the British state’s finances out of the red – by plundering working class purses – the Tories sat down to vote on cutting provision of school meals and childcare.

They are due to slash benefits by £2.5 billion in April. The latest report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has again confirmed what the working class knows through experience: the profits of the richest 1% continue to rise while working households fall in to poverty.

Falling living standards have been caused by rising inflation and costs of living, while the bosses and their politicians hold wages down. The Tories continue to impose a 1% pay cap on public sector workers – having awarded MPs a 1.8% pay rise this month.

They answer attacks on their appalling austerity programme with claims of record levels of employment, conveniently not explaining that this ’employment’ is frequently precarious and on zero or low-hour contracts.

Bosses of the top ‘FTSE 100’ firms earn on average 120 times as much as the average worker according to the High Pay Centre. The Tories continue to cut corporation tax, choosing to shunt millions of working class people into poverty to balance the books.

Brutal austerity

The Tories’ and Blairites’ programme of brutal austerity has not gone unchallenged. Strikes against wage and pension attacks are rumbling around the country. Campaigns around the closure of services such as NHS and women’s crisis centres are growing.

Councils continue to implement cuts, telling us they have no choice – this is a lie. Councils, particularly Labour ones, could use reserves and borrowing powers to implement no-cuts budgets now and build mass campaigns to win the money back, saving services that would protect working class families.

We also need unions to coordinate their action to improve pay and conditions. And those unable to work should not be abandoned to destitution and homelessness – benefit cuts must be reversed. A Corbyn-led government with a bold, socialist programme could reverse austerity.

We need a mass movement to kick out the Tories. But ultimately, we need to completely change society from a system driven by profit to one that is run by the working class, for the working class – a socialist society. If you agree, join the Socialists!